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3.5” Enterprise Hard Drive Development Analyzed

2009: Ultrastar 15K600 (600GB)

Finally, there’s the Ultrastar 15K600. This is the latest Hitachi enterprise drive, and likely it will be the last 3.5” SAS product. Future generations will be based either on flash SSD for the 2.5” performance market or 3.5” hard drives at 7,200 RPM for the high-capacity segment, a group already being serviced by “enterprise class” desktop hard drives modified to meet the durability and flexibility demands of business applications.

The Ultrastar 15K600 delivers an impressive 195 MB/s throughput. Only Seagate’s latest Cheetah 15K.7 is a bit faster, delivering over 200 MB/s. Write throughput is similar and maintains minimum transfer rates of 116 MB/s. If you only use two of these hard drives in a RAID 0 setup, you will already beat every SSD when it comes to sequential writes, and most likely you’ll also beat the SSD in total price if you go for smaller capacity versions.

Other performance metrics, such as application performance and I/O performance have increased by a considerable margin. Access time decreases. Power consumption hasn’t decreased at idle, but it was optimized a bit under certain workloads. In the end, this drive provides much increased performance per watt when it comes to high I/O activity and largely improved performance per watt for streaming workloads.

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